Covert Drone War
The use of Predator and Reaper drones (unmanned flying vehicles that are often armed with video-guided missiles) by the US military and CIA is a largely untold story of the "Global War on Terror / Global Contingency Operation" - yet has caused thousands of deaths in Pakistan and Afghanistan, many of whom are women and children.
“...when the other four men died – a result of ‘guilt by association’ – Hale realized he ‘was no longer part of something moral or sane or rational.’”
Last weekend, I participated in a panel on the illegality of drones and targeted killing off the battlefield at the conference, “Drones Around the Globe: Proliferation and Resistance,” in Washington DC. Nearly 400 people from many countries came together to gather information, protest, and develop strategies to end targeted killing by combat drones.
A Yemeni civil engineer, who spoke at the 2013 Drone Summit organized by the peace group, CODEPINK, has come to the United States to share his story about how a US drone strike killed his two relatives.
“The villagers marched the next day, chanting: ‘Obama, why do you spill our blood?’”
Faisal bin ali Jaber, a Yemeni man whose relatives were killed in a US drone strike, is traveling to the United States this week to tell his story to Congress and human rights activists at this weekend’s Drone Summit (which I’m covering for Truthout, FYI).
For the past 12 years, following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has been waging what it initially called a global "war on terror." Through various adjustments and "rebrandings," this has included the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq; the construction of a massive apparatus to spy on people all over the world; and increasingly global drone warfare: missiles fired from unmanned aircraft, or drones.
Almost 5 years after the spike in U.S. use of targeted killing of people via drone by the Obama administration (thousands have been killed), the United Nations, or rather its special rapporteur Ben Emmerson, has released a report saying these drone strikes by the United States have killed civilians by the hundreds, or more, and should be carried out in accordance with international law.
This week World Can’t Wait joins kNOwdrones.com and Granny Peace Brigade in ambitious outreach across Manhattan to protest U.S. drones for warfare & surveillance. We have 3 replica drones and volunteers of all ages. We talk about how drones are used in targeted killing. Each lunch hour we’re in key parts of the city, talking to people about why secret, dirty, wars employing horrific technology should be opposed. The campaign, which is being launched while the U.N. General Assembly meets here in NYC, includes a demand for a world ban on weaponized and surveillance drones.
“They may not have realized who was in the car. Or they may have realized it and decided collateral damage was okay.”
On June 9, a U.S. drone fired on a vehicle in a remote province of Yemen and killed several militants, according to media reports.
It soon emerged that among those who died was a boy – 10-year-old Abdulaziz, whose elder brother, Saleh Hassan Huraydan, was believed to be the target of the strike. A McClatchy reporter recently confirmed the child’s death with locals.
“The 24-year-old Ibrahim Mothana speaks eloquently and insightfully about what the US is doing to his country. We should listen.”
Ibrahim Mothana is a 24-year-old Yemeni writer and activist. I first became aware of him when he wrote an extraordinary Op-Ed in the New York Times last year urging Americans to realize how self-destructive and counter-productive was Obama's escalating drone campaign in his country, writing: